Fresh juice not only tastes great, but can be a great way to boost your fruit intake and minimize your soda consumption. However, there is nothing worse than taking a drink of homemade juice only to find that it is not at its best.
This may leave you wondering how long does fresh juice last. Of course, this is not a simple answer. The answer to the question how long does fresh lemon juice last will be different to how long does fresh vegetable juice last.
Different fruits and indeed vegetables have different lifespans, even when made into juice. So, in this article, we’ll explore the optimum lifespan for juices, what makes juices go bad and how you can increase the shelf life of your juice.
There are a number of factors that affect how and when juice will go bad. The main factors for juice perishing is bacteria and oxidation. These can be a little confusing to understand, so we’ll delve into these topics in more detail now.
You’re likely to be aware of bacteria as a factor when cleaning your home, but bad bacteria can also affect your juice.
While fresh fruit and vegetables are packed with nutrients, as the produce declines, the bad bacteria increases. In fact, bacteria is the cause of rotting and spoiling. If you can minimize the bad bacteria, you can prolong the lifespan of your juice.
Bacteria is all around us, but you can minimize the bacteria in your juice by using organic produce. If this is not possible, opt for the freshest and highest quality produce that you can afford.
If you want to ensure there are trace minerals in your juice, why not try growing fruits and vegetables yourself. This is a great way to ensure that no chemicals are used and you can pick your produce for juicing with optimum freshness.
You can also reduce bacteria by washing all of your produce before you start juicing.
The other factor affecting how long a fresh fruit just will last is oxidation. Heat, light and air can all increase the level of oxidation. Using chemical terms, it refers to molecules losing an electron, which degrades the nutrient levels in your juice.
There are several factors that determine if your juice has low or high oxidation.
Since organic produce contains higher nutrient levels, there is less oxidation and the juice will last longer. Even if you use the highest quality produce, for the best nutrition and flavor, you should consume your juice immediately or at least within 24 hours.
There are two common types of juicer, masticating and centrifugal juicers. The type of juicer you use will affect the rates of oxidation.
Masticating or twin gear juicers are often referred to as cold press or slow juicers. This is because the gears turn at slower speeds, extracting more juice with less oxidation. The best twin gear juicers like Tribest GSE-5000 can produce a high-quality juice that can last 24 hours or slightly more without spoiling.
Centrifugal juicers take their name from the high-speed centrifugal effect that is used to separate the juice from the fruit or vegetables. Unfortunately, this causes a high level of oxidation.
To avoid losing most of the nutrients from your juice, if you use a centrifugal juicer, you should drink your juice within 20 minutes of making it.
Your choice of storage method will also affect oxidation. Ideally, your juice should be bottled and put into the fridge.
Low quality and plastic bottles will increase the rate of oxidation, so glass is better for reducing oxidation and storing your fresh juice. There are even some blenders that come with glass jars to help minimize oxidation.
However, if you want the best storage method, invest in some quality Mason jars for drinking your fresh juice later. Just be sure to pour your juice into the jar immediately and refrigerate it instantly.
To determine if your juice has gone bad, you will need to use your senses. If the juice has changed color or has a sour, strong sell, it has gone bad. A brown color of juice is a sure sign it has degraded, so you should avoid drinking it.
If you store the juice in a fridge, you can expect it to last from 24 to 48 hours.
The key to storing fresh juice is that it is as cold as possible without it actually freezing. The ideal temperature range is 35ºf to 38ºf or 1.5ºc to 3.5ºc.
To fully appreciate this, you need to understand that most refrigerator models have cold zones. These are the colder areas of your fridge where items can partially freeze produce and other items. You may have noticed freezer burn damage on delicate leafy vegetables or that liquids feel particularly icy cold when they have been in these zones.
Typically, the temperature in these zones is approximately 38ºf, making them the perfect place to store your juice.
If you’re unsure where the cold zones are in your refrigerator, buy an inexpensive fridge thermometer. You can then leave the thermometer in different areas of your fridge for at least a few hours to check where the warmer and colder spots are.
As we touched on above, Mason jars provide the ideal storage for your fresh juice, rather than using plastic bottles. This is because the glass does not contain the toxins that you would find in low quality plastics.
Juice can be acidic, making it more likely that it can leach the toxins out of plastic. However, glass is not subject to leaching.
If you place your juice in a Mason Jar, you may even be able to increase its lifespan to two days. This is because the rubber seal on the lid can help to keep oxygen out of the juice. Just be sure to put your Mason jar of juice into your refrigerator.
Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to extend the shelf life of fresh juices. This includes:
We touched on this above, but it is worth mentioning again. It is crucial that the produce you’re using for your juice is as fresh as possible. If your fruits or veggies are close to expiry, they will not last long once they are made into juice.
Even if you can’t afford organic produce, you can still make some great juice with fresh fruits and veggies.
Another trick to increase the shelf life of your fresh juice is to add citric acid. Break out your citrus press or throw a lemon, lime or orange into your juice blend. Citrus is high in antioxidants, which can help to combat oxidation. For the best results, expert recommend Zulay Professional Citrus Juicer that is easy to clean and gets the maximum amount of juice with no seeds.
While this method won’t provide the same lifespan extending as pasteurizing, you may be able to get an extra day or two before your juice spoils.
Proper storage is crucial to keep your juice fresh and delicious. It should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It is important that your container is clear and ideally it should be a clear container that allows you to see the juice inside.
Additionally, glass bottles are easier to clean, as many are dishwasher safe, so you can ensure that your bottles are sparkling clean to maximize the shelf life of your juice.
Another method of maximizing the shelf life of your fresh juice is to vacuum seal it. This removes the air from the juice before you store it in your container.
Just remember that once you open the container, your juice will be immediately exposed to light and air, so oxidation will begin. So, it is a good idea to vacuum seal your juice into single serve containers.
There are also a number of non-thermal processing methods to increase the shelf life of juice. These include:
As you can see, these non-thermal processing methods are typically only used in a commercial setting. It is not possible to employ these methods at home, as you need specialized equipment that is not available to buy for domestic settings.
If you have more than a casual interest in juicing and are considering turning it into an enterprise, you may want to invest in non-thermal processing methods in the future. However, most small to medium enterprises involving fresh juice prefer to take the freshest possible approach.
For example, if you operate a cafe or juice bar, your customers are likely to appreciate the juice being made on site and served immediately. They can even see the delicious fruits and vegetables displayed before they choose which juice they would like to try. This means that they don’t need to wonder how long does fresh ginger juice last or how long fresh apple juice lasts. They can simply enjoy great tasting, fresh juice immediately.
Fresh juice can be a great way to boost your nutrient intake, particularly when you make juice at home. While there are some good commercial juice brands on the market, nothing beats a fresh, homemade juice that is made to your own recipe.
Of course, if you’re going to the expense of buying produce and running a juicer, you need to ensure that you drink your juice while it is still good. Allowing juice to go bad is not only a waste of money, but it could put your health at risk. So, it is crucial that you understand how long does fresh juice last and the ways that you can increase the juice shelf life.
Fortunately, by following this guide, you can understand juice lifespans and how you can maximize the nutrition and lifespan of your fresh juice.